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Coach Talks Triathlon: Siri Lindley

  • By Triathlete Europe
  • Published March 5, 2013

We picked the brains of the greatest minds in the sport of triathlon – four coaches of top pro triathletes. They shared their thoughts on injury prevention, nutrition, life balance and everything in between. Last week we profiled Joe Filliol, this week it’s Siri Lindley.

As an athlete, American Siri Lindley used her balls-to-the-wall approach to win an ITU World Championship. She retired in 2002, at her athletic peak, but feels like she still held on to her credibility. “I got a lot of hell from people saying, ‘Why are you retiring now? You’re winning races!’” she said. “But I just felt like I knew there was something bigger out there, as far as something that I’m even more passionate about.” When her former competitors started asking for coaching help, she found her calling. She’s coached athletes to Olympic medals (Susan Williams), World Cup wins (Samantha Warriner and Jill Savege) and now Ironman and 70.3 World Championship crowns (Leanda Cave and Mirinda Carfrae).

Mental Preparation
I think the biggest thing that everybody can do is if you’re logging your training and you know you’ve been training consistently. doing a great job. working hard every day, and if you’re logging that, it’s important to go back-whether it’s weekly or monthly or before a race-and look at all that work that you’ve done and look at the progress that you’ve made and really get a true confidence boost from that. A lot of people just kind of train every day, but they don’t keep track of how they’re going, and I think that that·s such an invaluable tool-to be able to look back and say, “Wow! Look at this! I worked hard, and look at the improvement I’ve made.” It’s a matter of really taking each athlete and knowing what fear is most coming into their minds on race week and being able to make sure they’re not focusing on those but focusing on the things they need to-which really, if they’ve done the work, all you have to do is go out there and give 110 per cent to the race. and it should be a great day for you, as long as you’ve done that work. So it’s really just keeping perspective and keeping them out of their heads and just focusing on the great work that they’ve done and treating race day more as a celebration of all the hard work they’ve done rather than this test that they’ve got to be all stressed about.

On Racing All Three Sports
I would recommend to every age grouper that each week they try to get in one speed session in every sport. one long. endurance session in every sport and one strength session in every sport. And if they can do that, they’re going to be covering the bases. And. I would also recommend, not being too hard on themselves because if they get stressed about missing a session. that can have negative consequences on the rest of their day and on their family and on their work. It’s really just doing the best that they can with the time that they have, but definitely planning their time wisely and making sure they’re getting in the sessions that are really beneficial.

On Training Camps
When you’re faced with yourself and a little bit of boredom, and there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, a training camp ends up being a very powerful experience because it does give you time to get to know yourself and to be more in touch with what you’re feeling inside of yourself and all those things. I know it sounds cheesy, but the more you can be connected with yourself and what motivates you and know yourself and know what your fears are and know what makes you uncomfortable, it just gives you more power to put into the goals you’re trying to achieve. It gives you more time for recovery, more time to appreciate what you’re doing and where you’re at. I think it’s really important. as uncomfortable as it can be for some of my athletes. I know we always leave those camps in a much more powerful space, which I find is really helpful as far as starting the season off on a high note.

On Injury Prevention
The biggest thing is I have a strength and flexibility coach who works twice a week with them laying down a foundation of strength that they need to stay strong as the training gets tougher, and flexibility in order to keep you loose and have your body working properly. When things get really tight. you start compensating, so we really try to get to a point where they aren’t compensating in any way. Ice baths after hard runs, massages, self-massage and getting plenty of recovery. And most importantly, our biggest rule of thumb is if you feel something coming on, you stop right away and maybe take a day or two off, and then it’s gone and you’re ready to start training again. Whereas most people, they feel something coming on, they say, “Oh, I’ll just get this session done and then I’ll take ( care of it.” And next thing you know, they’re out for three weeks

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